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Damien Jurado with mewithoutyou and Psalters

Aug. 18 • The Mad Hatter

By Brian Baker · August 10th, 2009 · Sound Advice

Good singer/songwriters make fans. Great singer/songwriters make friends. That’s how Damien Jurado burst out of the Seattle scene and into the Indie spotlight a dozen years ago.

The transplanted Texan began by self-releasing his own basement Folk cassettes — a little like Nick Drake shaped by faith and contemporary forces — which earned him a loyal local audience. Jurado’s following included Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk, who was so taken by his work that he took one of his tapes to Sub Pop Records. The label immediately signed him, releasing a pair of singles and then his proper debut, the acclaimed Waters Ave. S, in 1997.

Since then, Jurado has pushed his stylistic envelope in several new directions.

While retaining his basic songwriting premise of crafting darkly engaging (and fictional) story-songs with a first person narrative, Jurado has shifted from Waters Ave. S’s full-band approach to the naked-acoustic-with-accompaniment sound of Rehearsals for Departure and the raucous Indie Rock bluster of I Break Chairs. Jurado even experimented with found sound with his self-released Postcards and Audio Letters, fashioned from junk store tapes and answering machine messages.

In 2003, Jurado left Sub Pop for respected indie Secretly Canadian, where he’s largely stuck to his original Nick Drake-meets-John Cale style of passionate Folk balladeering. Last year’s Caught in the Trees might well have been the best of Jurado’s career so far, as he teamed with longtime friends Eric Fisher and Jenna Conrad, his new backing band, to craft a noisier soundtrack that hearkened back to I Break Chairs.

With Fisher and Conrad rounding out the live sound, Jurado is free to pursue any avenue he’s constructed over the past decade and a half on stage, resulting in a powerful experience no matter which direction(s) he takes.

(Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.)



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